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SWEET-’N’-HOT BAKED CHICKEN BREASTS

1/3 cup apricot jam

1/4 cup prepared mustard

2 tablespoons salted cashew or macadamia nuts, coarsely chopped

2 tablespoons plain breadcrumbs

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

4 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Rice pilaf (recipe below)

Combine 1/4 cup of the apricot jam, prepared mustard, coarsely chopped nuts and breadcrumbs in small bowl to form thick paste. Sift flour lightly over chicken breasts, shaking off excess flour. Spread small amount of jam on both sides of chicken. Place chicken breasts in baking pan large enough to hold 1 layer. Spread apricot-mustard mixture on top and bake at 350º for 30 minutes until chicken is lightly browned; then place under heated broiler to crisp; about 2 minutes. Serve with rice pilaf, if desired.

To prepare rice pilaf: Prepare your favorite white rice according to package directions. During the last 3 or 4 minutes of cooking, stir in some thawed frozen peas, chopped dried apricots and chopped salted nuts, such as cashews.

SWEET AND SOUR LEMON CHICKEN

2 chicken breasts, split (4 halves)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 bunch green onions

2 (quarter-size) slices fresh ginger

3 lemons, divided

1/2 cup rice wine vinegar

1-1/2 cups chicken stock, divided

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup water

1/3 to 1/2 cup lemon juice

1-1/2 teaspoons cornstarch

Rice or Chinese noodles

Preheat oven to 350º. Rub chicken breasts with salt and pepper; set in baking dish or baking bag. Finely chop green onions; sprinkle over chicken. Add ginger. Cut one lemon into thin slices; place over chicken. Mix rice vinegar and 1/4 cup chicken stock; pour over chicken. Cover or close bag; bake 30 minutes or until chicken is cooked, but still soft.

While chicken is baking, boil sugar and water for 5 minutes to make a simple syrup. Transfer chicken to a serving plate; strain cooking juice into small saucepan and add one cup stock, the syrup and lemon juice to taste. Cook until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes. Combine cornstarch with remaining stock (cold); add to boiling sauce to thicken. Adjust seasoning and pour over chicken. Decorate with thinly sliced fresh lemon; serve over rice or Chinese noodles. Yield: 4 servings.

LAMB BURGERS WITH HOMEMADE TOMATO KETCHUP

Homemade tomato ketchup (recipe below)

1/4 teaspoon crushed dried oregano

2 tablespoons chopped shallot (1 large)

1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 pound ground lamb

2 hamburger buns, preferably toasted

Prepare tomato ketchup and set aside while cooking lamb burgers. Combine oregano, shallot, Worcestershire sauce, salt and ground lamb in bowl. Mix ingredients, just enough to blend. (Do not overmix.) Shape into 2 patties; broil 4 to 6 inches from heat until browned, about 5 to 7 minutes per side. Place patties on buns; arrange on serving plates. Pass ketchup separately. Yield: 2 servings.

To prepare homemade tomato ketchup:

1 teaspoon oil

1 tablespoon minced shallot (1 small)

1 slice fresh gingerroot (1/4-inch thick)

1 large tomato, peeled, cored and diced

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon cider vinegar

2 teaspoons honey

4 cloves

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons tomato paste

1 teaspoon hot water (optional)

Heat oil in small saucepan; add shallot and slice of gingerroot; sauté 2 minutes. Add tomato, lemon juice, vinegar, honey, cloves, salt and tomato paste. Cook over low heat for mixture to stay at a slow boil, 15 to 20 minutes, until thickened. If mixture gets too thick, add the hot water. Remove cloves and gingerroot before serving.

Note: To peel tomato, drop into boiling water 30 seconds. Skin will slide off. It isn’t necessary to seed tomato, but it can be done, if desired.

TWO-WAY MEAT LOAVES MEAT LOAF BASE:

1-1/2 pounds ground round

1 pound ground turkey

2 large onions, finely chopped

1/2 cup chopped parsley

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 cup fresh bread crumbs

Salt and black pepper to taste

2 eggs

FOR ITALIAN MEAT LOAF

2/3 meat loaf base:

1/2 cup bottled marinara sauce

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

3/4 teaspoon leaf basil, crumbled

1/4 teaspoon leaf oregano, crumbled

FOR GERMAN MEAT LOAF

1/3 meat loaf base:

1/4 cup low-fat plain yogurt

1/2 teaspoon leaf thyme, crumbled

1/4 teaspoon leaf marjoram, crumbled

Pinch ground ginger

To prepare meat loaf base: Preheat oven to 350º. Combine beef, turkey, onion, parsley, garlic, bread crumbs, salt, pepper and eggs in large bowl.

To prepare Italian meat loaf:

Combine two-thirds base and next 4 ingredients in large bowl; mix thoroughly. Press into 9x5-inch loaf pan; bake in preheated oven for 1 hour. Let stand in pan 10 minutes. Pour off drippings; remove from pan. Wrap, refrigerate remainder.

To prepare German meat loaf:

Combine one-third base and next 4 ingredients in large bowl; mix thoroughly. Shape mixture into loaf about 8 inches long; place in shallow baking pan. Bake in preheated oven for 50 minutes. Remove loaf from baking pan to platter; cool loaf completely. Wrap and refrigerate for next day.

POTATO CROQUETTES

(Great as a side with the meat loaf.)

6 large potatoes, peeled and cut into thick slices

Water to cover potatoes

1 tablespoon butter

3 eggs

1-1/4 cups seasoned bread crumbs

1/4 cup milk

Salt and black pepper, to taste

1 teaspoon parsley flakes

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Cook potatoes in enough water to cover; drain and mash. Add butter, 1 egg and 1/4 cup bread crumbs; mixing well. Let stand until cool enough to handle. Beat remaining 2 eggs, milk, salt and pepper and parsley. Spread the remaining 1 cup bread crumbs on platter. Shape potato mixture into 3-inch long croquettes. Dip in egg mixture, then roll in bread crumbs. Heat oil in skillet; add croquettes and fry until golden, turning occasionally. Drain on paper towels. Serve at once. Yield: 6 servings.

WEB BONUS RECIPES

CRISPY APPLE FRIES WITH DIP

4 apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2 inch slices

1/3 cup quick cooking oatmeal

2-1/2 tablespoon walnuts

1/3 cup whole wheat flour

2-1/2 tablespoons sugar

1-1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Pinch of nutmeg

Pinch salt

1/4 cup butter, melted

For dip:

1/4 cup cream cheese, softened

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup cool whip

Preheat oven to 425°. Place a wire rack onto a baking sheet; set aside. In a small food processor, pulse the oatmeal and walnuts until the mixture is fine like flour; pour the mixture into plastic bag. Add in the flour, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg; gently shake the bag to mix. Next, pour melted butter into a shallow baking dish. Dip apples into the melted butter. Let excess drip off. Put the buttered apples (several slices at a time) into the bag with the oatmeal mixture. Shake bag to coat apples evenly. Remove the apples and place on wire rack. Bake for 10 minutes. Yield: 8 servings.

To make dip: In a small bowl, mix together cream cheese and vanilla. Fold in cool whip.

SPECIAL PUMPKIN CAKE

2 cups sugar

1-1/4 cups vegetable or corn oil

1-1/2 cups pumpkin puree

4 eggs

3 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup seedless raisins

1/2 cup golden raisins

1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Place sugar, oil and pumpkin puree in large mixer bowl; beat well on medium speed of electric mixer. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; sift again and fold into the cake batter. Stir in cup of raisins and nuts. Pour into greased 10-inch tube pan and bake at 350º

for 65 minutes or until done. Let cool slightly in pan before turning out onto rack. Yield: 12 servings.

ROSHKY

(Small, filled rolls)

1 large package cream cheese, room temperature

2 sticks butter, softened

3 cups sifted cake flour

To prepare filling:

1 pound ground walnuts

1 cup sugar

4 tablespoons milk

4 egg whites, beaten

Lemon rind

Cream cheese and butter; add flour, little at a time, blending well. Shape into rolls, about 2 inches in diameter and 10 inches long. Wrap in waxed paper; refrigerate overnight. When ready to bake, remove one-half roll at a time and slice into one-half-inch slices. Roll on board which has been covered with powdered sugar. Spread teaspoon filling on each round and shape into crescents. Place on ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 350º for 15 to 17 minutes or until lightly browned. Be careful, they brown quickly.

Any other fillings can be used, such as lekvar (prune), apricot, pineapple.

Any comments, questions or favorite recipes? I would love to hear from you. Feel free to send your email to helenkitchen@msn.com, and please write “Helen’s Kitchen Request, ATTN: Lori” in the subject line to make sure that I receive your email. Thank you.